From minor hair thinning to complete baldness, hair loss can take many forms. There are several causes of hair loss. Medically, hair loss can be classified into several categories, such as:
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Telogen effluvium: This prevalent kind of hair loss occurs two to three months following a significant physiological stressor, including a protracted sickness, a major surgical procedure, or a serious infection. It can also occur with an abrupt shift in hormone levels, particularly in postpartum women. All over the scalp, there is a moderate quantity of hair loss that may be seen on a pillow, in the bathtub, or on a hairbrush. Large bald patches are uncommon, while certain areas of the scalp may appear to have weaker hair.
Medication adverse effects: A number of drugs, such as lithium, beta-blockers, warfarin, heparin, amphetamines, and levodopa (Atamet, Larodopa, Sinemet), can cause hair loss. Furthermore, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), one of the numerous drugs used in cancer treatment, frequently results in abrupt hair loss that covers the entire head.
A medical condition’s symptoms may include hair loss. These conditions include syphilis, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), a thyroid disorder, an imbalance in sex hormones, or a serious nutritional issue, such as a protein, iron, zinc, or biotin deficiency. Those on restricted diets and women with extremely high menstrual flows are most likely to suffer from these deficits.
Fungal infections of the scalp cause a condition known as tinea capitis, which is characterized by patchy hair loss. This results in the scalp flaking or becoming scaly, with the hair breaking off at the surface of the scalp. One prevalent cause of children’s patchy hair loss is tinea capitis.
An autoimmune condition called alopecia areata causes hair loss in one or more little areas. Although it is more frequent in individuals with other autoimmune disorders, the source of this ailment remains unclear. Alopecia totalis is the term used to describe the complete loss of hair on the scalp caused by the same mechanism.
Traumatic alopecia: This type of hair loss is brought on by hairstyles that strain the hair (such as tight braiding or cornrowing), subject the hair to high heat and twisting (such as using a curling iron or hot rollers), or harm the hair with harsh chemicals (such as permanent waves, hair coloring, or bleaching). In addition, bald patches may result from obsessive hair twisting and pulling in certain individuals with trichotillomania, a rare mental disease.
Male-pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a hereditary condition in which males have hair loss that resembles that of a normal man, with a receding front hairline and/or thinning hair at the scalp. This is the most prevalent kind of hair loss, and it can start in a man’s adolescence or at any point in his life. Three things normally work together to create it: aging, male hormones, and a hereditary propensity for baldness. A lot of women will have female-pattern baldness to varying degrees. Women’s scalps thin completely over the top, or crown, leaving the front of the scalp unaffected.
Signs and symptoms
On average, we shed between fifty and one hundred scalp hairs per day. If more than this is falling out, you can discover quite enormous amounts of hair in clothes, brushes, and sink and tub drains. Additionally, you could notice that one or more bald patches have formed, your hairline has changed, your part is broader, or your hair is generally thinner.
Alopecia areata and tinea infections cause hair loss to occur in localized patches, whereas telogen effluvium or drug side effects typically cause hair loss to occur across the head. Additional signs of tinea infections include black dot-like regions of damaged hair or scaling of the scalp. The pattern of hair loss in traumatic alopecia is determined by the technique used to injure the hair, and it is often influenced by hot rollers, braiding, or chemical treatments. The hairline often thins at the top of the head after receding at the temples in cases of male-pattern baldness. The crown region eventually becomes completely bald, leaving the sides and back of the head covered in a hair fringe.
Based on your medical history, the drugs you take, your nutritional state, how you style your hair, and a physical examination, your doctor will determine the reason of your hair loss. Your doctor can remove a hair sample for laboratory analysis if they think you have a fungal infection on your scalp. If your doctor detects a medical condition (such lupus), thyroid issue, iron deficiency, or sex-hormone imbalance, blood testing will most likely be required.
Anticipated Time Frame
The duration of hair loss varies based on its cause. For instance, hair often sheds in telogen effluvium over a few weeks to months before growing back over the next several months. When a medicine causes hair loss, hair growth normally resumes normalcy when the drug is withdrawn. A switch to more natural style typically eliminates hair loss caused by abusive hairdressing, with the exception of traction alopecia, which is brought on by years of twisting hair back in tight braids. Hair regrowth in cases of tinea scalp infection may be sluggish and the fungus causing the illness has to be treated for at least 6 to 12 weeks. In order to avoid potential irreversible hair loss, early treatment is crucial. Baldness with a male or female pattern can be addressed, although it usually worsens with time.
Reducing stress, maintaining a good diet, employing common sense hair care practices, and, if at all feasible, switching to medication that doesn’t cause hair loss can all help avoid some types of hair loss. You may avoid fungal infections-related hair loss by washing your hair often and not sharing combs, brushes, or hats with other individuals. There are situations when medicine can stop hair loss caused by baldness with a genetic pattern.
The only real cure for hair loss brought on by telogen effluvium or pharmaceutical side effects is typically to stop taking the offending medication. Hair loss may be reduced or even stopped by limiting damage or chemical exposure (such as using a blow dryer, hair straightener, coloring, or perms). Once the underlying medical issue is treated and a healthy diet is adopted, hair loss resulting from malnutrition often ceases. Six to twelve weeks of oral medicine, such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or itraconazole (Sporanox), with or without shampoos containing ketoconazole (Nizoral) or selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue, Head & Shoulders, among others), are required for the treatment of fungal scalp infections. Corticosteroids can be injected into the skin or administered topically to treat alopecia areata. Additional remedies for this ailment include minoxidil (Loniten, Rogain), anthralin cream (Drithocreme, DrithoScalp, Psoriatec), or a mix of these medicines.
Many people with baldness that follows a genetic pattern do not seek therapy for their hair loss. When someone does seek medical attention, topical minoxidil (Rogaine) is typically the first line of treatment. In addition, men can receive treatment with oral finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) or dutasteride (Avodart); they can also choose for scalp reduction surgery or hair transplants. Finasteride may be advised for postmenopausal women, whereas estrogen or spironolactone may be used to treat premenopausal women.